SharePoint Business Connectivity Services & Its Limitations

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Microsoft provides Business Connectivity Services (BCS) also called Business Data Connectivity (BDC) is a set of services and features using which we can connect SharePoint-based application to external data sources. It is part of each flavor of SharePoint which includes Foundation 2010 Server as well.

When I started looking into these features, I found the following information which shows what features are available in which flavor of SharePoint:

Business Connectivity Services Feature SharePoint Foundation 2010 SharePoint Server 2010 Standard Edition SharePoint Server 2010 Enterprise Edition
External List
External Data column
Business Data Connectivity (BDC) service
Connector Framework
Secure Store Service
External Data Search
Profile Pages
Business Data Web Parts
Rich Client Integration

Basic features of BCS are also available in foundation edition. BCS working with External Content Type (ECT) poses some limitations as well which are as follows:

Limit Maximum value Limit type Notes
ECT (in-memory) 5000 per Web Server (per tenant) Boundary Total number of external content type (ECT) definitions loaded in memory at a given point in time on a Web server.
External system connections 500 per Web server Boundary Number of active/open external system connections at a given point in time. The default maximum value is 200; the boundary is 500. This limit is enforced at the Web Server scope; regardless of the kind of external system (for example, database, .NET assembly, and so on) The default maximum is used to restrict the number of connections. An application can specify a larger limit via execution context; the boundary enforces the maximum even for applications that do not respect the default.
Database items returned per request 2,000 per database connector Threshold Number of items per request the database connector can return.

The default maximum of 2,000 is used by the database connector to restrict the number of result that can be returned per page. The application can specify a larger limit via execution context; the Absolute Max enforces the maximum even for applications that do not respect the default. The boundary for this limit is 1,000,000.

The above limitations are based on recommendations and boundary values assigned for ECT and DB connections. One important thing to note is that the items returned per ECT is 2000 irrespective of the fact how many columns are returned from DB. So you will get at most 2000 items at any given point in time.

However, these limitations can be bypassed that can impact performance of the system as well. For instance, following commands can be used to increase the ECT limit to 3000:

Add-PSSnapin Microsoft.Sharepoint.PowerShell.dll

Get-Command -Noun SP*BusinessData*

$bdcProxy = Get-SPServiceApplicationProxy | where {$_.GetType().FullName -eq (‘Microsoft.SharePoint.BusinessData.SharedService.’ + ‘BdcServiceApplicationProxy’)}

Set-SPBusinessDataCatalogThrottleConfig -Identity $dbRule -Maximum 1000000 -Default 3000

$bdcProxy = Get-SPServiceApplicationProxy | where {$_.GetType().FullName -eq (‘Microsoft.SharePoint.BusinessData.SharedService.’ + ‘BdcServiceApplicationProxy’)}

$bdcProxy

For reference on how to modify these limits, you can follow link:

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/bcs/archive/2010/02/16/bcs-powershell-introduction-and-throttle-management.aspx

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